Paper setting teams have been given  the following guidelines for developing examination questions for M16 Paper 1 examinations and beyond.

The Specimen Papers that will be published use the May 2015 papers. This is just to illustrate the new structure of the HL Paper 1 rather than give an example of the type of question candidates will get on the paper. All that has been done is that we have collapsed the questions in Sections B and C into a new Section B. This is because we do not have examples of questions that combine both Topic 3.10 and Topic 3.11 but have questions that are either Topic 3.10 or 3.11

Paper authoring teams have been given a clear directive to write questions that require candidates to utilise knowledge from both Topic 3.10 and Topic 3.11 so teachers are required to teach both topics.

This means that SL Paper 1 and HL Paper 1 Section A will have fewer questions, but the nature of the questions will not change.

However, on HL Paper 1 Section B  students may have blended questions from topics 3.10 and 3.11 or questions that are focused on either topic 3.10 or topic 3.11. Since students are required to study both topics, this allows them the widest choice for choosing 1 question out of 4. This seems to be quite fair compared to having to write 2 questions out of 4 in previous HL Paper 1 Section B. Now they only write 3 questions in the same overall time allowance. Both HL and SL students are allowed 45 minutes per question so the ‘time crunch’ has been reduced and the focus is on:

  • What does the student know? and
  • To what extent can the student write a well-structured response?

What this means in terms of preparing students for the HL Paper 1 examination is that they will need to read through the 4 questions in Section B carefully and be certain to choose that 1 question for which they can organize well-written responses for all parts of the question whether it involves 3.10 and/or 3.11. Therein lies the challenge.

Also the way SL Paper 1 and HL Paper 1 questions are constructed, students tend to achieve most of their marks on part a, less on part b and far less on part c. It is rare to see 6-8 marks on part c. In order to receive a good result, this is one areas that deserves attention.

The question is:

  • How do we prepare students to address the various command terms that are used in ITGS on examinations (see last page of the ITGS Guide published on the OCC homepage)?
  • How should students outline or organize a well-structured response for command terms such as ‘explain’ and above? Note ‘formulate’ only appears on HL Paper 3.
  • How do we ensure that students understand the terminology in the Guide (and HL the terminology in the case study)? What other terminology has been encountered through reading ITGS related material?
  • What specific examples have been investigated in news items and ITGS related material that can be included in responses to demonstrate the student’s understanding?
  • To what extend have students had the opportunity to write responses on Paper 1-type questions under timed conditions and received individual feedback?

This M16 session the time factor has been reduced. The emphasis is now on the quality of the response.